What should have been a routine traffic stop went off the rails when cops arrested a driver for no apparent reason, then arrested and pepper sprayed his father for filming them.
The arrests took place in Keller, Texas, on Aug. 15, and the pepper sprayed man, Marco Puente, filed a federal lawsuit against the two offending officers on Dec. 15, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Body cam and dash cam footage from the scene has gone viral across social media over the last two days; at the time of this writing, one video on the r/publicfreakout subreddit has accumulated more than 87,000 upvotes.
Marco Puente and his son, Dillon Puente, were driving to Marco’s wife’s grandfather’s house to fix the air conditioning in Dillon’s car. As Dillon approached the home, Sgt. Blake Shimanek pulled him over for making a wide right turn.
“Any reason why you rolled your window up when I walked over to this car?” Shimanek asks Dillon, to which he replies, “No sir.”
Dillon exits the car with his hands above his head, faces the car, and puts his hands behind his back, per Shimanek’s demands.
“Why are you acting so suspicious?” Shimanek asks Dillon before handcuffing him. “You rolled your window up when I’m walking up on scene for a routine traffic stop.”
“I’m just rolling it up for my safety,” Dillon tells him.
Marco Puente parks his truck across the street and begins filming his son’s arrest as he asks what happened.
“You’re about to be arrested for blocking the roadway if you don’t park and get out,” Shimanek tells Marco. “You are interfering with my job.”
“It was my right to roll up my window,” Dillon tells Shimanek, to which he replies, “No, it’s not.”
Shimanek tells the second officer, Antik Tomer, to arrest Marco, who is standing on the sidewalk and still filming his son’s arrest.
Tomer grabs Marco by the wrist and tells him to drop his phone and put his hands behind his head. When Marco protests, Shimanek puts him in a headlock, knocks his phone from his hand, and pushes him to the ground. He then kneels on his back and cuffs him.
Tomer, meanwhile, pulls out a can of pepper spray inches from Marco's face and blasts his eyes with it.
“Dude, oh my God, what are you doing?” Marco asks. He yells that his “eyes are on fire” as the cops hoist him off the ground and put him in the back of the police car.
Marco reportedly begged repeatedly for a towel over the next 15 minutes, but the cops ignored his requests.
All charges against Marco and Dillon Puente were dropped following a review. Keller Mayor Armin Mizani said in a recent statement that Shimanek was demoted from sergeant to officer in September as a result of the arrest, though he could not comment further as it is the subject of a pending lawsuit. The City Council will meet in a special session next Tuesday for a full briefing.
This is not Shimanek’s first offense at the Keller police department. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that in 2016, he “searched a woman’s home without permission and threatened to call Child Protective Services without just cause.” In 2018, he received a complaint for commenting about “women not carrying guns because they would not be able to protect the children during a school shooting.”
Social media users lambasted Shimanek for his actions and were disappointed to learn he hadn’t been fired.
“Those cops are fucking psychopaths. I wonder if a single cop anywhere ever spoke out against them,” Redditor u/@WallyJade wrote. “Hah just kidding. I know none ever would.”
A change.org petition to terminate Shimanek and Tomer and charge them with abuse has received more than 9,200 signatures at the time of this writing, approaching its goal of 10,000.
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